In this verse, Paul encourages the Corinthians,
But just as you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us–see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
The Corinthians were well known for their abundance of spiritual gifts as well as for their zeal and love.
But Paul says here, “Don’t just excel in faith, speech, knowledge, zeal, and love. Excel in giving as well.”
Many Christians want to excel in faith, in speaking out for Christ, in their knowledge of God, in zeal, and in love. But how often do we desire to excel as givers. Precious few, I would guess. But that’s what God desires for us. That we would be givers, and touch the lives of the people around us.
I think that’s primarily what Paul is talking about here, and it’s how the NIV translates it. But as I look at the ESV, it puts this verse this way:
But as you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you–see that you excel in this act of grace also.
I want to focus on that last phrase: “This act of grace.” Again, this is specifically talking about the grace of giving, namely to the hurting Jews in Jerusalem.
But it strikes me that God wants us to excel in all acts of grace. In the act of speaking words of grace to those around us. In the act of showing kindness to others. In the act of showing forgiveness to others. In the act of showing mercy to those who are hurting.
We are to be people of grace. Why? Because God is a God of grace, and we as his children are to imitate him.
How about you? Are you a person of grace? Are you a person that excels in acts of grace to those around you?